Smart TVs And The Internet (20 Questions Answered)

By Robert Anderson •  6 min read •  Televisions

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Smart TVs and the Internet go hand in hand.

But before you consider buying a Smart TV, it’s worthwhile knowing how they connect to the Internet, how much data they use and whether your home Internet is fast enough and has the bandwidth necessary to stream content.

Here are some things you need to know about Smart TVs and the Internet:

Do Smart TVs need the Internet?

Smart TVs do not need the Internet when viewing offline content such as via a DVD player, a blu-ray player or content stored on a USB stick or media center.

But most apps installed on Smart TVs need to connect to the Internet to stream content like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant also need access to the Internet.

The Internet is also required to download new apps and to automatically download firmware updates.

Can a Smart TV use WiFi?

Smart TVs can use WiFi or an ethernet (wired) connection to connect to the Internet.

You can connect a TV to WiFi by heading over to settings on your TV and providing the WiFi password.

Optionally you can often connect a Smart TV to a WiFi network using the WPS button on the router.

But from a security perspective, it’s better to disable WPS and connect to the network using a strong password.

Do Smart TVs have WiFi built-in?

All Smart TVs have WiFi adapters built-in.

Do all Smart TVs have Internet access?

All Smart TVs have the ability to connect to the Internet either via WiFi or an ethernet connection.

How can I get the Internet on my TV without WiFi?

To get the Internet on a TV without WiFi you will need to connect the TV directly to a router using an ethernet cable.

Do you need the Internet for Netflix on a Smart TV?

The Internet is required for Netflix apps to download and stream content on a Smart TV.

How do I connect my Smart TV to the Internet?

You can connect a Smart TV to the Internet either using WiFi or a wired (ethernet) connection to the router.

WiFi connection:

  • Go to settings on your Smart TV
  • Look for “networks”
  • Find the WiFi network you want to connect to
  • Enter the password

Wired connection:

  • Locate the ethernet port on the back of the router and the back of the TV.  This may be labelled “Lan” or “Ethernet”.
  • Plug an ethernet cable into the router and the other end of the cable into the TV.
  • Go to settings on your Smart TV.
  • Look for “networks”.
  • It may be necessary to enable ethernet connections in the TV settings.
  • Find the network you want to connect to.
  • Enter the password.

Is Ethernet better than WiFi for Smart TV?

An ethernet connection will provide a Smart TV with a more stable, faster and more secure Internet connection than WiFi.

What Ethernet cable do I need for a Smart TV?

A Cat-7 ethernet cable is recommended for Smart TVs.   Cat-7 cables offer speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), which is ideal for streaming content on a Smart TV.

It’s also important to bear in mind that longer cables have slower transmission speeds.

Can a Smart TV connect to 5GHz WiFi?

Some Smart TVs allow connections to the 5GHz channel on a router, others don’t.  It depends on the make and model of the TV.

If your TV supports 5GHz, it should be visible in your list of networks in your Smart TV settings.

If your TV doesn’t support 5GHz, then it won’t detect those networks and they won’t show up in the list.

Do Smart TVs use 2.4 or 5GHz?

Most Smart TVs can use both 2.4GHz or 5GHz channels.  

When streaming content, and if your TV is close to the router, it’s better to use 5GHz.  

The 5GHz channel offers a faster, but less reliable connection because it has a shorter range than 2.4GHz.

If you’re simply browsing the Internet on your Smart TV, then 2.4GHz would be the better option.

Does a Smart TV have to be wired to the Internet?

A Smart TV does not have to be wired to the Internet.  All Smart TVs have the option to connect to the Internet via WiFi.

Which Internet is best for a Smart TV?

Netflix recommends a minimum Internet speed of 5 megabits (Mbps) per second to stream HD content.

To stream 4K content, 25 megabits per second is recommended.

A faster connection will result in less buffering.

It’s also important to remember that these figures are based on just one person watching.  

If there are other devices that are streaming content at the same time, then you may need a connection of up to 100 Mbps.

How much WiFi data does a Smart TV use?

The amount of data a Smart TV uses depends on a number of factors including resolution and frame rate. Streaming content at a resolution of 426×240 can use approximately 225 MB/hour and around 15.98 GB/hour streaming 4K content.

Do Smart TVs use WiFi when off?

Smart TVs can use WiFi when in standby mode but not when the TV is switched off at the mains.

Smart TVs in standby-mode can periodically check for firmware updates and send usage data and statistics to the manufacturer.

Can a Smart TV browse the Internet?

Smart TVs can browse the Internet much like a smartphone or a laptop using an Internet browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Puffin, Samsung Internet Browser, TVWeb or TV Bro.

Can a Smart TV use a hotspot?

A Smart TV can use a hotspot just like any other WiFi network.

However, a hotspot won’t provide you with the most reliable connection.  Also, connecting a Smart TV to a mobile hotspot will use lots of data.

Can a Smart TV stream from the Internet?

Smart TVs can stream content from the Internet using streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube or Amazon Prime.

Can a Smart TV use a VPN?

A Smart TV can use a VPN if there’s an app available.  If an app isn’t available, you can either:

  • Install a VPN on your router (if the router has the capability)
  • Install a VPN on a mobile device, create a mobile hotspot and connect the TV to the hotspot.

Alternatively, you can install a VPN app on a Firestick or similar streaming device.

Does a Smart TV slow down the Internet?

A Smart TV can slow down the Internet because it uses bandwidth.  The more devices that connect to the Internet, the more bandwidth is used, despite the speed of the connection.

Bandwidth is the amount of data that your connection can handle at a particular moment.  

Internet speed is the rate at which a connection can transmit data.


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Robert Anderson

Robert Anderson

Robert Anderson, the founder of Tech Parasol, had a keen interest in tech from a very young age. He studied Electronic Engineering at University and then went on to become a Software Developer. He launched Tech Parasol in 2021 to share his knowledge with the aim of making tech easier to understand for everyone.